These 7 states have the worst homelessness crises in the US. They also have some of the most expensive housing.
Talk of homelessness in America tends to center on the most visible crises: open-air drug markets in San Francisco, crowded encampments in Los Angeles, cardboard shelters in New York, and tent cities in Seattle.
But even these harrowing conditions don't capture the full scope of homelessness in the US.Although homelessness is declining by around 14% nationwide, 16 states have seen their homeless populations increase since 2007. In that time, states with a relatively small number of homeless residents like Wyoming and South Dakota have seen an increase of more than 62%. North Dakota, meanwhile, has seen a troubling 71% rise in its homeless population.
One way to evaluate the extent of homelessness in America is to look at the share of homeless residents relative to a state's population size. This controls for the fact that states with more residents tend to have higher homeless populations. It also gives an indication of some of the nation's worst crises, where restrictive policies or a lack of affordable housing may contribute to the large number of people living on the streets.
We crunched the data for the share of homeless residents across all 50 states in America. Here's what homelessness looks like in the seven states with the worst crises (which also have some of the highest housing costs in the US).